The day was almost over. John and Aunt Rose had decided to have an evening wedding in our little church. After a busy morning and half an afternoon of preparing, taking pictures, and bustling activity, we were all finally ready.
The church grew quiet and still as Aunt Rose was hid away with Grandpa, her sisters, (my aunts and Mom) and I. We were in the baby room preparing Aunt Rose for her walk down the isle. I could hear the shuffle and thumps of feet mingling with the murmur of voices. It wasn’t a huge wedding but the excitement of it all still had me jittery.
Aunt Rose kept winking at me when I looked at her and I giggled back every time. It was so exciting. And my aunt . . . she looked stunning. Her dress fluttered gracefully around her. Its long tail swept like a river along the floor as she walked. Sprinkled with tiny, purple flowers, from her waist all they way down the back of the train, the dress looked as soft and white as a cloud. My mom was gently sewing the flowers to her train. They were real and had to be sewn on last minute so they could be bright and un-wilting. Aunt Rose had her soft, brown hair nestled into a bun that rested among cheerful curls and white and purple flowers. Her sparkling veil fell from the bun and hugged her shoulders, before wrapping softly around the trail of her long dress.
“There.” Mom had leaned back on her heels. “It’s perfect.”
Rose beamed, letting out a quick breath. “Good.”
We all looked up as the door opened and my dad smiled in at Mom. “They’re almost ready. We better get.”
Mom grinned and set her sewing on the changing table behind her. She gave Rose a quick, careful hug, so not to crush her dress or hair and turned to me, cupping my face in her hand.
“Have fun, little flower girl!”
I bounced up on my toes, bit my lip, and nodded. “Ok!”
Soon all was silent and I heard the sound of music. The rough, wooden door moved at my finger tips as I peered past it, wanting to see the bridesmaids and groomsmen walking down the isle. Purple dress swished, the all-white, rose bouquets contrasted their beautiful dresses and matched the guy’s white shirts, and a peaceful song set the mood.
My heart was pounding as I shifted in my long, light purple dress. Aunt Rose looked as though she were thinking and Grandpa looked like he might cry. I felt like crying and not because I was sad. It was because I was scared. Everyone would be watching me. Everyone. I wasn’t sure what I thought of that.
It was almost time. I could hear the music quieting just like we had rehearsed. Another peek showed a rather lonely looking John standing at the alter. At least I wasn’t him. Or Aunt Rose. I turned for one last look at my aunt and Grandpa. They knew it was almost time to go.
Aunt Rose looked at Grandpa as he whispered something to her, my heart pounding in my ears blocked it out, but she smiled her great, sunny smile that made everything good and exciting. The air cleared as I saw her smile and tried out one of my own. She caught my eyes and winked again, earning a giggle from me.
My determination returned and I stood tall. I would be the best flower girl there ever was! I carefully gripped the cowgirl hat that I held in my hands, peddles overflowed its purples sides. I sucked in another breath and heard the music ripple to life. It was time to go, ahead of my aunt, and ready the isle for her wedding march.
A Flower Girl at Last.
A choir of violins hummed serenely as we headed into the hallway. I stepped out, walking slowly as I’d been told to do, and heard Aunt Rose’s dress flowing along side the quiet thumps of her Dad’s shoes. The piano stepped into the chorus as I reached the isle and saw that everyone was starring. At us.
I swallowed hard and grinned the cheesiest grin I every had. Since my feet weren’t visible beneath my slightly too-long dress, I’d snuck off my pinchy sandals and hid them, going barefoot. The floor was smooth as I proceeded forward, my footsteps thumped in rhythm with the swaying music.
Beautiful bouquets of wheat, roses, and lilacs ornamented the pews. A chandelier clung to the ceiling and its twenty, fake candles fiercely pretended to burn. Light soared in the colored window in time to the music. Streaming over John and our pastor, it landed on Aunt Rose as she entered behind me.
I moved gracefully, filled with an unexpected ability to defeat my awkwardness. Guitars danced into the group instruments. Their singing covered the sound of tiny, purple pedals fluttering to the floor. I walked for what seemed like forever, scattering flowers, listening to swishing of Rose’s dress, and feeling the silent breathing of the church.
I looked up, overcoming my shyness when my walk was almost over, and exhaled peacefully. Everyone was watching Aunt Rose. I turned, still walking and tossing flowers, to see her. Her eyes were sparkling, her smile bright, as she grinned back at Uncle John. Her veil caught the evening light, glimmering like a thousand stars behind her. Rose’s soft dress would’ve fit an angel in heaven as it floated, with the sound of a peaceful river, up the isle. Some of my carefully dropped pedals clung to her dress like leaves in a stream, the rest gently moved aside letting her pass.
The church leaned in becoming a cozy, colorful, welcoming place for my aunt and uncle’s happiness. It was all going so well! As I walked, looking back at my aunt, my slowing steps let her get closer and closer. All at once I realized I was at the end of the isle. Whipping around, I started forward with a hasty step when I felt something go wrong.
My bare foot caught on my long dress and slipped. With a strangled yelp of surprise I went down, throwing the hat, half full of pedals, up in the air. I turned with a gasp while I fell and saw the hat fly towards Aunt Rose. Flecks of purple scattered all over and the hat went flying past her, leaving just the pedals to trickle down around my aunt.
Gasps waltzed through the crowd as I felt all eyes seeking me out. I head the smack of the hat I’d thrown as it thumped onto the earth. Someone called my name, wondering if I was ok, and I felt the peaceful, perfect atmosphere shattering. And all at once I wanted to hide under the pew. Forever. Because I was quite positive I’d just ruined everything!
Continued Next Week. 🙂
This is part two of a story I started last week in This Post.